Caramel apples are one of the yummiest fall treats there can possibly be. But making them sometimes leaves you feeling disappointed. What you end up with is not what you had in mind.
After a lot of work and a kitchen full of caramel wrappers, you end up with ugly apples. ARGH!!
Here are 10 tips to making caramel apples that turn out looking like they belong in a chocolate shop and not a preschool.
1. Choose your caramel carefully.
The higher quality the caramel, the better it will melt and coat your apples smoothly. I recently discovered this stuff.
It’s a five pound loaf of caramel. No more unwrapping thousands of caramel wrappers. GAMECHANGER! Those things are deceptively difficult to peel.
I bought this block for about $16 and I also bought some of the wrapped caramel cubes, which cost about $4 for 14 ounces. So the loaf of caramel is actually a tiny bit cheaper. And WAY EASIER TO USE!!!!
1 pound of caramel will cover 4-5 medium apples and 2-3 big apples.
2. Heat your caramel carefully.
If you heat the caramel too hot, it will start to loose the proper consistency. It can become more firm and crunchy and harder to dip. It will turn from caramel to toffee.
Try heating your caramel in a cast iron casserole dish or other substantial dish in the oven. Set you oven to as low as it will go. Mine goes down to 170, so that is what I use, but most ovens go at least to 200. It will take a while depending on how much caramel you are melting.
You want a heavy dish, so that it retains that heat and keeps the caramel from cooling quickly while you are still trying to dip. This will just frustrate you. Because dipping in thick caramel isn’t fun.
Smaller amounts can be melted on the stove top (absolutely stirring constantly.) Or in the microwave on 50% power for 30 second increments, stirring between sets.
3. Get rid of the wax
Scrub the wax off the apple. In fact scrub them, dry them and then use fine grit sandpaper to scuff them up a bit.
That shiny wax that makes the apples so pretty, also makes it very hard to the caramel to cling to the apple.
Make sure you don’t break the skin with the sandpaper, just lightly run the wax paper over the apple.
4. Refrigerate the apples
Pop your apples in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before you dip them. A cold apple with help the caramel set quicker and keep it from all dripping back off.
Then pop them into the refrigerator after they are dipped to really set up the caramel.
(Sorry, I wasn’t willing to clean out my refrigerator for you to get a nice picture of apples in the fridge.)
5. Scoop and spin
Set your apple in the caramel, then scoop the caramel onto the apple. Twist the apple using the stick while continuing to scoop the caramel onto the apple.
This will help the caramel go on smoothly.
Make sure your stick is in the apple really securely. Otherwise you might pull it out because the caramel doesn’t want to let go of your apple!
Employ the same method with chocolate, if you use it.
6. Let it drip and then flip
You may be tempted to keep as much caramel on the apple as possible, cause it’s yummy. But you should let as much as possible drip off. Then scrape the excess off the bottom. If you leave to much it will slide to the bottom of the apple and leave a caramel foot.
After you let it drip and then scrape the bottom, flip the apple over and count to 20.
Your cold apple (see #5) will help the caramel set up while you keep the apple upside down.
7. Use parchment or a silpat
Don’t even try to use wax paper or aluminum foil. That is just going to make you sad.
8. Get rid of the caramel foot
Even with all of our steps to get rid of the pool of caramel at the bottom of the apple, you will probably still have a little “caramel foot.” Fold and squish it under the apple, or cut it off with clean kitchen scissors.
You have to do this before you dip it in chocolate.
9. Dip it!
I highly recommend dipping the apples in chocolate, especially if you aren’t going to eat the apples the same day. The chocolate will dry quite firm and really help the caramel to stay put.
Let the caramel cool fully before trying to coat in chocolate. Warm caramel will melt the chocolate.
If you are going to decorate the apple with candy or nuts or sprinkles or cinnamon sugar or anything else. Make sure you have that all ready to go before you dip.
You will need to press those onto the apple immediately after dipping in chocolate. That will help them to stick
Scoop and spin (see #6), then roll in sprinkles/nuts/candy, place back on the parchment, then back into the fridge.
If you are going to dip the chocolate in something, you don’t need to worry so much about having your chocolate tempered. Or you can use dipping chocolate to avoid the chocolate looking spotty.
Some recommendations for coatings: Crushes oreos, reese’s pieces, chopped nuts, cinnamon sugar, sprinkles or whatever else floats your boat.
10. Cut it like this
Don’t even attempt this.
Cut the apple this way.
Then you will end up with these.
The perfect way to eat a caramel apple. You get a good ratio of apple to caramel and you don’t cover you entire face with caramel. And you can share, if you want to. I won’t judge if you don’t.
*I got the caramel loaf and a lot of info on caramel apples from Orson Gygi